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Various Artists

Making Singles Drinking Doubles – 2003 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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Over the course of its nearly decade-long reign, Bloodshot has become the premiere label for what some people might call "alternative country." Bloodshot artists and administrators alike would be more prone to call it "the alternative to country," but regardless of nomenclature, this is a label that takes its music, its artists and its fans very seriously.

For the label's 100th release, Bloodshot has come up with a fiendishly clever compilation concept. Rather than pat themselves on the back over their many successes over the past 10 years, Bloodshot assembled an incredible array of its roster and cherrypicked a handful of tracks that have either been featured on limited edition singles (which are now hopelessly out of print and hard to find) or vaulted and unreleased. It's nearly impossible to find a bum cut. From Kelly Hogan's brilliant "1,000,001," an unissued track originally slated for a B-side, to the Volebeats' incredibly faithful 6-minute reading of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain" to the Meat Purveyors's astounding murder ballad spin on a trio of Madonna songs, Singles/Doubles is a treasure trove of quality rarities.

For collectors, there's a pair of Ryan Adams demos from the "Heartbreaker" sessions, and for the obsessives, there's Neko Case & the Sadies, Andre Williams & 2-Star Tabernacle and Hogan's duet with John Wesley Harding. Maybe for their bicentennial, Bloodshot will take this concept to the box set stage. Fingers crossed, wallets ready.